Saturday, 21 July 2012

Saturday 21st. July 2012

With the big day coming up tomorrow , I thought I had better do a visit today to see if there was anything about for the Kent BC visit . A quick stop on the way up on the Common was fruitless , but the cloud had just rolled in as I arrived . The car park at High Elms was packed , just as it will be tomorrow , but the cars today turned out to be members of Orpington Field Club , on a field trip to the site . I found them later up on Burnt Gorse , there was hardly room for me .  Butterfly numbers over the whole site were up , but nothing like the 'norm' , if there is such a thing . Two of the three species that tomorrow's visitors will hope to see were not found today . They were White Admiral and White-letter Hairstreak , and Silver-washed Fritillary numbers do not seem to have increased since last weekend , but there were long cloudy periods during the visit , and the species just disappears without the sun . Tomorrow , hopefully will be less cloudy . The best news was the 17
Marbled Whites found , by far the best total recorded since they arrived on the site , interestingly none found on the fence Conservation Field , which was cut and grazed last Winter . The rest of the
species list was , Small Skipper 23 , Green-veined White 1 - this female was frantically trying to find suitable egg laying sites , Gatekeeper 17 - including my first female , Meadow Brown have exploded
to 200+ , Comma 2 ( 1 pictured ) , Ringlet 35+ - not doing so well this year , Small Heath 1 , and Silver -washed Fritillary 5 - 3 males and two females . All were seen on Burnt Gorse , none at the end
of the Orchid Glade or the other small glades . The males , with the dark sex brands on the forewings
were constantly approaching the two larger females , but they were not interested in the male's attention , and just carried on feeding . When fed up with the males , the females would carry on
feeding , wings closed , making themselves far less obvious , and showing that superb underwing . A few flowers found on the way round included ;
Musk Mallow / Malva moschata .
On the Conservation Field , a single flower of Perrenial Flax / Linum perenne ,
Feverfew / Tanacetum parthenium , a member of the Daisy family .
Other interest found included ;
One of several Cinnabar Moth caterpillars found on their foodplant , Ragwort .
Another Crab Spider , this one feeding on a Honey Bee , as if the species didn't have enough problems . Many thanks to Greg for the correct ID of Comb-footed Spider , Theridiidae .
Another , or the same immature male Southern Hawker , much more drab than the blue one seen last wekend .
A very defiant Devil's Coach Horse , rearing up in my hand , having found it struggling on a path .
A few seconds later , a change of tactic , feigning death . I returned it to the side of the path , from there it scuttled away .
I met up again with some of the OFC members below the Orchid Bank , and asked if they knew about the Yellow Birdsnest . They didn't , and were amazed by the sight of so many of this rare plant that have emerged this wet Summer .


Warren Baker said...

Good luck for tomorrow Greenie, the weather looks to have come good for you. Nice flutter images, most of those species cant be seen on my patch though :-(

ShySongbird said...

Lovely photos Greenie. The SWFs really are beautiful butterflies! I should think your visitors will be pleased to see just those alone. I hope you have lots of sunshine and that the walk is/was enjoyable and productive!

Ken. said...

Saturdaay: Looks like you had a successful visit, nicecount of butterflies. The contrast of colouring between the adult Cinnabar Moth and its caterpillar is quite something. Sunday. The weather today is absolutely wonderful I hope you did well.

Greg said...

Nice butterfly pics!

Your spider is a comb-footed spider (Theridiidae) rather than a crab spider (Thomisidae). It's an Enoplognatha species.